Nature Journaling: Finding Nature at Home during Autumn
Tuesday, September 1 - Monday, November 30
Nature Journaling: Finding Nature at Home during Autumn
Journaling Guide: Joy Bridy
Registration for this event is not required, but we encourage you to enter your contact information using the form below, so we can be in touch with future field journaling opportunities.
With the sounds of summer transitioning into the sounds of autumn, there is more than one way to spend an afternoon chasing something new. From katydids to field crickets, Wil Hershberger’s insect website, Sound of Insects (http://songsofinsects.com/
How have you been spending your long summer afternoons, or your early mornings? Have you found a time of day, or day of the week, that you tend to let your curiosity pull you outside, following the questions that come to mind? Have you found a new pen or watercolor brush that you pick up before all the others, or a color that seems like it’s everywhere? Is there a writing prompt that has stuck with you throughout these warm days?
Like many of us in this summer of Covid-19, I have slowly warmed up to online experiences, and have been pleasantly surprised by making connections with people all over the world. A writer in Ireland has gifted me with Nature Journal writing prompts that keep encouraging me to deepen my connections to what I find most beloved in my own backyard. An artist in California has encouraged me to use all of my senses when I am outside, from my eyes and ears, to the sensory experiences on my skin and tongue. A scientific illustration course out of Australia has encouraged me to actively choose which pens and pencils I work with, and to continue to place my focus on observation, with the goal of drawing more accurately each time I sit down to draw. An herbalist in West Virginia has reminded me that there is plenty of space in my Nature Journal for pressed leaves stored in re-used security envelopes glued in to a blank page, and even the occasional cut out image from a magazine or seed catalog.
Kuniko Kikuchi, a fellow Nature Journal enthusiast living in Tokyo, Japan, has inspired me with her combination of drawing and writing, and her approach to curious observation. I first saw her work this spring in the facebook group ‘The Nature Journal Club’ and have come to look forward to her regular drawings and descriptions. Her writing is sparse and friendly, ranging from detailed observation to personal feelings and hopes, and her drawings are of nature in her environment, as well as traditions and experiences in her everyday life.
Kuniko says she started drawing in her Nature Journal regularly this spring as a way to calm her anxieties around Covid-19. She found that by focusing on her drawing and writing, she was able to relax, and over time, found peace and contentment in the process, worrying much less about everything else.
Kuniko Kikuchi, the Nature Journal Group, August 11, 2020, Facebook:
It’s going to be hot today！
I will upload my nature journal last month.
I’m so happy every day! Food is good and I can draw illustrations.
Now, I’ve started saying “Either way is fine”.
There is a famous saying of Shakespeare that says,
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
There’s nothing I have to do.
I am laid back now.
When you take your Nature Journal out into your yard or along the rivers and streams, do you usually draw what you see and rarely write about how you feel? Do you capture the weather and the date, but not the sky?
When you head out this autumn, allow yourself to add a bit of personal writing or storytelling, perhaps a story you remember about the plant or insect that you are looking at, or the clouds rolling by. If a group of children wander by following a butterfly, let them show up in your writing and drawing, too. Consider what you are smelling and tasting, from the rustling autumn leaves that smell of compost and change to the water or mountain mints in the fields, or pawpaw fruit dropping from the trees right into our pathways. If you’re gathering plants or fruit to cook or preserve, what is the recipe you’re following, and where did it come from? These gems of story and memory are what make our Nature Journals personal, and deeply ours. As we continually learn to observe the natural world, we can also make space for our own nature.
(all images by Kuniko Kikuchi, with permission, via Facebook)
While we are happy to be able to hold monthly in-person journaling gatherings at PVAS’s preserves, Rita Hennessy’s Meadow and Morgan’s Grove Park, we will continue the online journal prompts as well. If you’re able to join us, I look forward to seeing you, and hopefully we can slowly and carefully find ways to spend some time in the same vicinity, spread out across the preserves that we so love.
I look forward to seeing you there, or seeing what you do with the virtual prompts…or both!
We would LOVE to have you share your Journaling!
There are various options for you to share your creativity:
- Facebook: If you use Facebook, please feel free to post on your Facebook page and use the hashtags #potomacaudubon #naturejournal. If you don’t use Facebook but would still like to share, please email your journaling enry to Krista Hawley at AdultPrograms@PotomacAudubon.org with ‘Nature Journaling’ in the subject line and Krista will pick one day a week where she will upload and post the pictures on the PVAS and PVMN Facebook pages (you can email them to Krista by either scanning and emailing, or just take a picture and email that to her).
- Instagram: If you use Instagram, please feel free to post on your personal Instagram page and use the hashtags: #potomacaudubon #naturejournal. If you don’t have an Instagram account, but would still like to share, follow the same procedure as emailing to Krista and we will post them to PVAS’s Instagram accountwhen we post to PVAS’s Facebook page.
If anyone is interested, I also follow The Nature Journal Club on Facebook and highly recommend it. I look forward to seeing what you come up with this month! ~Joy